Habermas promotes the idea that a modern and increasingly pluralistic society can’t be united by a language, cultural and historical affinity. That community should be consolidated through values and rules.
They make their presence felt in the German government through disagreement on eastern policy. When Ukraine fights off Russia’s attack, Chancellor Olaf Scholz acts aloof, while the chief diplomat, Annalena Baerbock, backs a hard line against the Kremlin. This is how the war in the east divides the Social Democrats and the Greens in Germany. The first are represented by Scholz, the second – by Baerbock.
Some time ago, the prime minister gained an influential attorney of considerable standing. The defense of Scholz was taken up by the well-known German philosopher and sociologist, Jürgen Habermas.
In May 2022, the international elder statesmen of the humanities (on June 18, 2022 he will celebrate his 93rd birthday) published an article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung where he addressed the accusations against the chancellor of Germany that he is being soft towards the Kremlin. He warned against provoking Russia to actions escalating the conflict. He stated that Russia is a nuclear power that has to be reckoned with. And he expressed support for negotiations and not confrontation in the West’s position towards the Kremlin.
Habermas is heir to Enlightenment rationalism, though he is not uncritical towards it. He rose to fame as the creator of the concept that assumes (to put it very briefly) that the key to settling various disagreements and undertaking constructive activities is interpersonal communication, but free from socio-cultural conditions. It sounds like pretentious baloney but the German thinker is not an exception against a backdrop of many intellectuals who want to fix the world.
The guru of the German left – since this title is suitable to Habermas – called on his countrymen to settle accounts with the burden of the past, especially when it comes to responsibility for the Holocaust. He condemned all nationalisms, to which he gave particular expression in opting for the transformation of the European Union from an organization of sovereign national states into a federal, supranational superstate. While promoting the term “constitutional patriotism,” he disseminated the view that a modern and increasingly pluralistic society can’t be united by a language, cultural and historical community, and that this community should be consolidated through values and rules, which endow the law.
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By Filip Memches
Translated by Nicholas Siekierski